Magic Smoke

This page is a gallery of some of the more interesting times, where the aftermath of the relese of magic smoke has been caught on camera during the autopsy. More coming when time allows. Currently there are a few examples, which are linked below.

For background information on the Magic Smoke have a look at this wikipedia page

Poyester Capacitor

This mess used to be part of backlight invertor in some sort of wall mounted media controller. As for the damage, both sides of the board are burned up, the capacitor itself is just gone, the wall had minor burns, and finally the plastic case suffered some melt damage.

Now for the real surprise, the controller, which was thought to be well over 10 years old, still actually worked, and yes even the screen, although as expected minus the backlight.

Board Top
Board Bottom

For more information on polyester capacitors have a look at this wikipedia page

Apple Power Supply vs Electrical storm

This one came from a work colleague who took his macbook pro on a trip, and following a storm, the macbook was dead.
On his return and buying a new power supply, the Mac was all good, the poor power supply having given its life to save the computer. Below was taken during the autopsy, and shows the damage.

Power supply

Note the crater on top of the IC, that is impressive, given how tough those IC are.

USB Hub Power Supply

This was an interesting one, it was the power supply for an external USB powered hub, which let out the magic smoke when I first plugged it in. These photos where taken during the autopsy.


This smoke release was so energetic that it did the following to the bottom of the case. And this is one of the best electronics skid marks I have seen in quite a while.


This is one which is very close to home, my QNAP NAS had been giving random errors with its network connectivity, it would still work, just had drop outs etc.

No, this is not a QNAP bashing exersize, the NAS I had was 10 years old, had been running 24x7 ever since it was first installed, with zero issues until the network problems started.

I ran through the full diagnostic test book, and identified the network port as the cause of the issue, and made the decision to replace it, after all it was way beyond its expected life span.

And yes, the replacement was also QNAP 😀

The following shot was taken during the autopsy on the old NAS after new one was installed.

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